In an editor’s note on NPR.org, Dick Meyer, executive editor of NPR News, said the network committed a “serious and grave error” when it reported that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been shot to death in Tucson, Ariz.
In its 2:01 p.m. Eastern broadcast on Saturday (Jan. 8), NPR informed listeners that Giffords was dead. That erroneous news also was posted on NPR.org, and sent as an e-mail news alert to subscribers.
But Giffords had survived the shooting, which happened at a mall during a public appearance, and remained hospitalized Sunday night in critical condition after neurosurgery.
“The information we reported came from two different governmental sources, including a source in the Pima County Sheriff’s Department,” Meyer said. “Nonetheless, in a situation so chaotic and changing so swiftly, we should have been more cautious.”
He said that corrections were issued within minutes, along with “properly updated reports.”